On HU

Matthias started the week off with a discussion of the Argentine comic strip Mafalda by Quino.

I wrote about the aphasiac power fantasy of Gantz.

Richard Cook talked about Wonder Woman, new costumes, and patriotism.

Suat wrote an extensive post comparing R. Crumb’s Genesis to other works of Biblical illustration.

Vom Marlowe discussed the squick factor in Mick Takeuchi’s Bound Beauty.

And I returned to my Bound to Blog run through all of the Marston/Peter Wonder Womans with a discussion of Wonder Woman #20.

Utilitarians Everywhere

At his own blog the Metabunker, Matthias Wivel provided a balanced appreciation of Harvey Pekar.

He hasn’t always been served equally well by his collaborators and seems to have been somewhat insensitive to the visual side of comics, leaving too many of his stories to the deadening hands of mediocre artists. But when it worked, it worked beautifully: notably Frank Stack brought the emotional turmoil of Our Cancer Year (1994) to life, and Crumb of course animated Cleveland and its inhabitants as only he could. A case in point is the story “Mr. Lopes’ Gift” (1978), which suggests a whole life in the fragments given us by Pekar. Crumb’s portrayal of a man he had probably never seen is empathetically real, providing the world for us to read in furrowed brow of this construct.

On Tcj.com, Matthias wrote about David Prudhomme’s Rebetiko.

As chance would have it, I have two articles up this week about the television show Bones. First at Comixology I talked about an episode focusing on super-heroes.

Superheroes are sometimes regarded as modern day myths; archetypes harking back to ancient heroes like Gilgamesh who famously wore his underwear on the outside and engaged in curiously vigorous male-bonding activities with his youthful ward Enkidu.

Gilgamesh aside, though, the whole ancient myth thing is maybe obscuring the fact that superheroes have much closer cousins than Hercules. Cousins like, for example, Sherlock Holmes. Absurdly dedicated, supremely skilled guardians of right who bring evil-doers to justice — switch the moustache for the helmet, or even just paint the first on the second, and how much difference is there really between Iron Man and Hercule Poirot?

And at Madeloud I talk about the black metal episode of Bones.

Also at Madeloud I review an album of Nigerian disco.

Finally, as I mentioned yesterday on the blog, Caro had an extended, um, discussion with the folks over at Comics Comics yesterday. Tim Hodler and Frank Santoro were part of the back and forth, and I burbled some too. Here’s one of the less incendiary bits from Caro:

I’ve heard and read this argument many times — that comics generate medium-specific, unique “new insights and ambiguities” that are comparable to those of fine art and literature. I’ve heard it over and over from the writers here and from other enthusiasts about the artistic possibilities of comics. But when critics like Suat put these comics in specific, detailed, analytical conversation with the high bar set by fine art and literature, they generally fail to measure up. And they generally receive comments, like the ones Ed Sizemore made over on HU, that the comparisons are unfair. This is contradictory: either comics are good enough for the comparisons and will stand up against them, or they’re not. Critical evidence tends toward “not.”

Other LInks

Kristy Valenti has an interesting article about volume and women in comics.

From Bookforum, I think this is a good, albeit short, review of Best American Comics Criticism.

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